Author Topic: Little Black Egg  (Read 353431 times)

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Offline retrodog

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Re: Little Black Egg
« Reply #120 on: January 13, 2008, 03:31:28 PM »
Retro....The way you attached the top stone is a great idea or maybe I should say.....grate idea.  :-D So when are you taking your LBE on it's maiden voyage?

    Villa Roma
Thanks. I was trying to figure out how I was going to mount it up there and then I just picked up that bottom grate and a lightbulb came on over my head. I didn't tighten it very much because I don't want heat combining with stress to crack it. With the double layered (including tile standoffs) pizza stone on the bottom, there is about 2.5" of clearance between the cooking surface and the grate holding the tile in the top.

Some time this afternoon, like in about an hour or two, I'll be trying it out. During my initial dry-run last night I determined something...

The side by the vent got hotter sooner than the other side. That was from measuring external temperature around the top. I speculate that the air flow on that side is allowing the heated air to use that as the path of least resistance. So I figure if the cooking area suffers from the same effect, I'll just compensate by rotating the top halfway through the cooking cycle, as that would barely require breaking the seal and minimize any heat loss. But that determination will come later.


« Last Edit: January 13, 2008, 03:40:53 PM by retrodog »


Offline retrodog

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Re: Little Black Egg
« Reply #121 on: January 14, 2008, 10:04:04 AM »
Well I screwed that up a bit. I got it heated up and then when the temp hit about 500 I put my pizza on. A few things that went wrong.

1. I think it got hotter
2. Not enough cooking on top
3. Burning on one side

I haven't put the heavy duty aluminum foil on the top yet. So I was mostly just experimenting with what would happen with basic installation. I'm thinking about increasing the gap between top and bottom by 1/2" to see if that will improve/increase top cooking. I also need to play with the regulator valve to graduate it somehow, either by number of turns or position. The flame is bright blue though and very difficult to see during the day. I could see it beautifully on Saturday night, during the dry run, but it was virtually invisible yesterday afternoon.

In any case, there are many variables here to explore... so I'll be throwing some more flour into the mixer tonight and making a lot more dough.  ;)

The bottom started browning but didn't get as crispy as I wanted it. The side starting to burn caused me to prematurely extract the pizza. If there is some way to keep the side from burning then I might have something. Perhaps a shield ring of some sort. I have some 36"x1/8"x.5" aluminum strips. Hmmmm....

Offline ehanner

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Re: Little Black Egg
« Reply #122 on: January 15, 2008, 12:35:05 PM »
Hey Retrodog good to see you here. As you can tell from the posts I'm a newbie also in this forum and with the LBE. I like your concept for mounting the top tile. Is that a 12X12" tile?

I haven't fired up my LBE yet as I'm waiting for my top dish to be fabricated. I decided to make a thick plate that will be about 15-1/2 inches diameter and slightly domed at the top.

I noticed that VR's pizza isn't bubbling on the top on one side in the video. I suspect we will have to find a way to buffer the heat flow to even out the temperature both above and below the cooking stone. I'm going to try to get some IR film and shoot some pictures of the unit when I get my top plate to see how evenly the heat is being absorbed. I'm also considering adding a vent of the opposite side of the lid as an additional vent instead of opening the existing vent.
Eric

Offline retrodog

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Re: Little Black Egg
« Reply #123 on: January 15, 2008, 12:56:30 PM »
Hey Retrodog good to see you here. As you can tell from the posts I'm a newbie also in this forum and with the LBE. I like your concept for mounting the top tile. Is that a 12X12" tile?

I haven't fired up my LBE yet as I'm waiting for my top dish to be fabricated. I decided to make a thick plate that will be about 15-1/2 inches diameter and slightly domed at the top.

I noticed that VR's pizza isn't bubbling on the top on one side in the video. I suspect we will have to find a way to buffer the heat flow to even out the temperature both above and below the cooking stone. I'm going to try to get some IR film and shoot some pictures of the unit when I get my top plate to see how evenly the heat is being absorbed. I'm also considering adding a vent of the opposite side of the lid as an additional vent instead of opening the existing vent.
Eric
Yes, I think it's a standard 12" tile. I'll measure it later for more precise numbers.

I picked up some heavy duty aluminum foil last night. I probably won't be testing the grill again till the weekend.

I might shut the vent and see what heat buildup I can get, and if that evens out the cooking. I may also use the foil and then put holes around the perimeter of the stone to balance the flow. More testing to come, obviously.

Offline Villa Roma

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Re: Little Black Egg
« Reply #124 on: January 16, 2008, 01:39:35 AM »
Eric/Retro.....You might want to consider modifying your crust recipe. I found that higher hydration, minimal yeast (sometimes I use a starter) and a long slow room temp fermentation yielded the best results. I use 2% sugar and oil if I'm going to cook at 650 degrees and omit both all together at higher temps of around 800+ degrees.

You definitely want to line the lid with HD foil to help reflect the heat back down toward the cooking surface. The height between the cooking surface and the top stone is 1 1/2" on my LBE.

I preheat for 30 minutes. For the first ten minutes I turn the gas on low to work any moisture out and then turn the gas up for the remaining 20 minute preheat.

      Villa Roma

Offline ehanner

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Re: Little Black Egg
« Reply #125 on: January 16, 2008, 11:26:04 PM »
VR, Thanks for your reply. Did you lower the tile in your egg to make it so close or did it just work out that way? That seems a little close but it does explain the nice color you get on the top crust.

I'm wondering what the effect is of not having the HD foil inside the lid. You say having it reflects the heat but does it (the lid)  get to hot otherwise or is the crust affected?

Offline Villa Roma

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Re: Little Black Egg
« Reply #126 on: January 17, 2008, 12:52:11 AM »
Eric,

I originally had the stone clearance at 2" but raised the bottom two stones up 1/2" by placing some compressed HD foil between the grate and the four supports. I found the 1 1/2" clearance works best for me.

The lid heating wasn't the reason I used the foil to line the lid, it was more to even out the top and bottom heat and increase the efficiency of the LBE.

I marked off a side vent on the lid so I may take my trusty hacksaw blade and cut the side opening this weekend. If I do I'll let you know what effect it has on the finished pizza.

     Villa Roma

Offline ehanner

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Re: Little Black Egg
« Reply #127 on: January 18, 2008, 05:54:19 PM »
I saw that you were scoping the side entry concept. Maybe you could save the cut out piece and brace it slightly and use it as a oven door with a wire bale or wooden handle. I'll be waiting to see how that works. You might have to direct more heat to the back side do to the opening.

Eric

Offline Villa Roma

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Re: Little Black Egg
« Reply #128 on: January 19, 2008, 08:44:44 AM »
Here's the sidewinder vent mod. This is intended to be a vent and not an opening to load pizzas through at this point. I'll close down the top vent some and see how it works later this weekend if the wind dies down. If this works out, I may enlarge the vent and use it to load the pizzas. Right now it's 8" X 1 1/2".

I may have to lower the bottom stones so I made the opening with that in mind.

     Villa Roma
« Last Edit: January 19, 2008, 10:22:13 AM by Villa Roma »

Offline ehanner

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Re: Little Black Egg
« Reply #129 on: January 20, 2008, 10:49:42 PM »
You do nice work VR. Can you tell us why you thought it was necessary to increase the venting so much? It would be great if you could side load and cover the opening during the bake.

Eric


Offline Villa Roma

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Re: Little Black Egg
« Reply #130 on: January 21, 2008, 12:42:40 AM »
Eric.....Thanks, I cut the opening with a drill, small files and a bare hacksaw blade, cutting on the pull stroke. It still needs some work but since I may have to alter it, I left it as is.

The side vent addition wasn't so much to increase the venting as it was to redirect the flow of hot air. With the vent on the top, most of the air is drawn around the pizza and out the top vent resulting in the top of the pizza being undercooked. This was especially true if there was a breeze. In a windless environment like a garage, it's not as critical.

Adding the side vent will draw hot air around and over the top of the pizza, hopefully resulting in faster bake times and a more evenly baked pizza. That's what I'm shooting for but I'm sure I'll have to do some more experimenting before I get it dialed in.

It's been my experience that limiting the venting actually decreases the temperature. The burner needs a lot of air to support the cumbustion process and gets starved for air when the venting is less than optimum.

I'm going to Las Vegas on business next month so I'm going to see if I can score on a few kilos........of Caputo!

     Villa Roma
« Last Edit: January 21, 2008, 12:50:30 AM by Villa Roma »

Offline ehanner

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Re: Little Black Egg
« Reply #131 on: January 21, 2008, 08:17:30 AM »
VR, It is my understanding that the reason that these gas ventless fireplaces and in fact your home range and oven are not a Carbon Monoxide risk are that they are efficient burners. When I placed my LBE over the wok burner on my home range (this is a big hi BTU burner) I noticed that the flame started to become weak and wasn't burning at anywhere near full power after just a minute of operation. My heating contractor friend said to be carefull of CO when the flame isn't burning well. I have been anxious to try my LBE in the face of -5F temps and windy days here in WI and thought about firing it up in the garage. I just don't want to produce a high CO level that might harm myself or the family in my impatience for good weather.

I wonder if the heat distribution problem couldn't be solved with a look at a different burner. It seems like there is potentially plenty of BTU's to heat such a small area if the gas is being burned correctly.

Offline Villa Roma

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Re: Little Black Egg
« Reply #132 on: January 21, 2008, 09:01:33 AM »
Exactly my point. Closing down the vent makes the burner less efficient, thus it actually lowers the cooking temp.

The stock vent on the 18" Weber grill has about 3 square inches of airflow. The tin can on my Weber has about 8 square inches of airflow. The side vent adds another 12 square inches of potential airflow for a total of 20. This is probably too much but I can adjust the top vent to optimize the efficiency and airflow characteristics of the oven.

When I cook in the garage I always leave the garage door open at least 12" no matter how cold it is. You can also get a carbon monoxide detector to warn you if the levels get too high. I've never had a problem.

    Villa Roma


Offline Jackitup

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Re: Little Black Egg
« Reply #133 on: January 21, 2008, 10:20:50 AM »
Make a 3 sided windbreak out of plywood or something. Even a big cardboard will work. Anything to break the wind and create a NON-turbulaent environment. Many people that use the WSM bullet smokers do the same thing when BBQing to achieve stable consistant temps in their smokers, works great and safer than a open flame in a garage.
Jon
Save A Cow, Eat A Vegan....Totally Organic And Hormone Free!!

Offline retrodog

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Re: Little Black Egg
« Reply #134 on: January 21, 2008, 08:49:47 PM »
It's starting to look a lot like a 2stone. Now you just need a rotating stone in there and a nice stick to push it with.  ;)

Offline Villa Roma

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Re: Little Black Egg
« Reply #135 on: January 22, 2008, 01:00:26 AM »
Retro.....Ha Ha Ha  :-D I was thinking the same thing except more like the other way around.  ;) You may also find this interesting. http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,6113.msg52494.html#msg52494

    Villa Roma
« Last Edit: January 22, 2008, 02:16:21 AM by Villa Roma »

Offline ehanner

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Re: Little Black Egg
« Reply #136 on: January 22, 2008, 12:49:05 PM »
I was thinking along the lines of a hot air balloon. The burner is considerably below the skirt which directs the heat and way below the balloon. The burner is able to run at full temps and has plenty of air available.

Eric
« Last Edit: January 22, 2008, 12:51:57 PM by ehanner »

Offline PizzaBrasil

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Re: Little Black Egg
« Reply #137 on: January 22, 2008, 05:13:24 PM »
Where the pizza goes?  :-D

Offline ehanner

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Re: Little Black Egg
« Reply #138 on: January 23, 2008, 08:45:27 AM »
Hahaha--right at the top!

Offline ehanner

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Re: Little Black Egg
« Reply #139 on: January 24, 2008, 11:56:29 AM »
VR,
After looking at what the 2stone guy is doing and your results with your stone lowered, I am convinced that you are on the right track with your side cut out. rotating the cooking surface does seem like a good value, even if it's done manually.

Eric